How to Find Police Scanners Online - 4 Free Sources

Want to know what's up? Listen to the neighborhood using online scanners

Listen to emergency response feeds online. inhauscreative/Getty Images

Police scanners offer live broadcasts from ongoing law enforcement and fire department events. With the internet, no scanner equipment is required; you can listen to emergency situations right from your computer or mobile device. Whether you're looking to follow breaking news or just want to see what's up in your neighborhood, you can do so with these live streaming feeds.

Editor's Note: This information is provided purely for educational purposes. 

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Radio Reference


RadioReference has been around for a long time, and offers one of the most comprehensive listings of scanners on the Web. In addition to live audio broadcasts of police, fire, EMS, railroad, and aircraft communications, RadioReference also offers a complete frequency database, trunked radio system information, and FCC license data.

Users also have access to a wide variety of forums in which to discuss what they're listening to. There's also a wiki, a user-edited reference resource for communications information and acronyms.

RadioReference offers user-contributed frequencies, technical information on communication systems used all over the world, the opportunity to discuss communication-related topics with users globally, and, of course, live streaming services. 

What we like: Users can view statistics on what the site offers; this includes the number of registered users, the number of live audio feeds online, the number of people actively listening to live feeds in real time, and the top audio feeds with the most listeners. This last statistic changes quite frequently depending on what events might be going on locally. 

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More than 3,000 live audio streams are available to listen to at Broadcastify, with feeds from public safety, aircraft, rail, and marine live audio streams.

Scanner broadcasts are categorized into Most Popular, Official Feeds, Alert Feeds, etc. so users can easily navigate to what they might be looking for in any area of the country. Broadcastify users also have the opportunity to broadcast their own streaming broadcasts.

Listening to streams here is free; an upgraded membership for a small monthly premium gives listeners the ability to listen for an unlimited amount of time, set up alerts, and get rid of all advertisements.

What we like: For listeners who would like to take advantage of Broadcastify's service on the go, they offer a full featured mobile web site that is supported on most smartphones, mobile devices, and tablets, as well as app support that is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and other mobile devices. 

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Ustream differs a bit from the other listings in this article; it's primarily a live video streaming service that anyone can hook into, either to broadcast or to watch live streams.

However, it's possible to listen to live police scanners here, and it's become a popular source when other sources might not be broadcasting. You'll have to do a little digging to find what you're looking for; try searching for "police scanner" in the Ustream search field to get started.

Ustream is divided into several categories, anything from Popular to Entertainment to Education. Most broadcasts are free to watch, and it's possible to stream your own show if you'd like. More than fifty million viewers tune into Ustream every month to watch live sports events, listen to streaming audio broadcasts, or check in with their favorite television personality.

What we like: While you're watching or listening to something, Ustream offers a unique chat feature that allows users to connect with their fellow viewers or listeners live.

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TuneIn offers users the chance to listen to more than 70,000 stations from all over the world, in any genre from Jazz to Classical. They also offer a wide variety of public safety broadcasts, anything from air, fire, police, rail, public transportation, to much more.

Hundreds of public safety broadcasts were available for streaming and listening for free within a Web browser. Just like Ustream, it takes a bit of searching to find what you're looking for here; you'll want to type "scanner" into TuneIn's search field and then go from there.

TuneIn does offer a more targeted search by genre; you can search for scanners within Air, Police, Fire, and more. TuneIn also offers a mobile app available for most mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones.

What we like: Scanners that are in your local geographical area will come up first in search results. If you know the name of the scanner you're looking for, or the locality that it's attached to, it's a good idea to try that in search results as well.